Hiking in Williamsburg VA: Explore Spring Trails Together

Experience the enchantment of Williamsburg in spring, an ideal time for Hiking in Williamsburg VA with fewer crowds. Embark on romantic hikes and leisurely nature strolls with your special someone, from the wooded beauty of Bassett Trace Nature Trail to the scenic banks of Lake Matoaka and the expansive 600 acres of greenery at Freedom Park. Your exploration awaits just minutes away from our Williamsburg bed and breakfast. Williamsburg bed and breakfast.

map of colonial williamsburg va

In Town – A Nature Trail Right in the Center of Williamsburg

You’d be hard-pressed to find a better introduction to hiking in Williamsburg in spring than the Bassett Trace Nature Trail, which lives up to its name, full of natural splendor along its 3-mile path. It’s easily accessible and just  a 3/4 mile walk through the historic area from our location, starting off Francis St and following a gentle grade heading south as you traverse a thick forest canopy. You’ll quickly notice the diversity of trees, ranging from tall species like American beech and elm to fruit trees like persimmons (which bear apricot-colored fruits that are most flavorful in the fall months). Sycamore trees along the trail also hold historical importance, as the Native Powhatan tribe used this durable wood to build their dugout canoes, an authentic example of which you can see at nearby Jamestown Settlement (one of our favorite Williamsburg day trips). During every season, this unique trail has its charms – autumn brings stunning colors, brisk and clear spring days are lovely around the two ponds mid-route, and the plentiful shade is a relief during the warmer days of early summer.

On Campus – Along Lake Matoaka at William and Mary

As you stroll through the historic William and Mary campus – passing the stately Wren Building, massive Sunken Garden, and iconic Crim Dell Bridge – after a mile or so, you’ll end up on the shores of Lake Matoaka. Like most places in Williamsburg, the history here runs deep, as the lake took shape over 300 years ago, built shortly after the formation of the college to power a gristmill. The mill is long gone, but the lake’s scenic half-square-mile expanse forms the backdrop for the aptly named “College Woods,” which abut the western edge of campus. Lake Matoaka Trail is on the eastern “campus side” of the water, hugging a portion of College Creek and the lake’s edge for much of the 2.5-mile out-and-back route. 

 For a more extended outing, head to the other side of the lake, where the Matoaka trail network continues for another 8+ miles. If you’d rather drive to the lake trail than walk through campus, park in the paid lots near the on-campus Millie West Tennis Facility. Better yet, combine a hike and some free William and Mary sports spectating when the men’s Tribe tennis team has upcoming matches versus Navy on March 9th, Drexel on March 10th, and Elon on March 25th.

Sunlit Statue in front of William and Mary College

Hiking in Williamsburg VA at the Park: Gorgeous Gardens and Acres of Foliage

Just eight miles north of downtown Williamsburg, Freedom Park's sprawling and manicured grounds are a gem. Discover some of the best Williamsburg in spring scenery along the two miles of multiuse paths winding along Colby swamp and smaller waterways (crossing nine bridges along the route). As you make your way through the dense hardwood treescape – Freedom takes “city park” to another level with its expansive size – look out for the newish “LOVE” sign, one of several Virginia Is For Lovers LOVEworks signs in our area, and a perfect place to snap a mid-hike photo together. In the park's center, stroll arm-in-arm through the Williamsburg Botanical Garden and Arboretum, which began as a non-profit 20 years ago and has since expanded to include dozens of different garden areas, each with distinct vegetation and ornate beauty. Sit together on one of the benches in the garden, where you can marvel at the succulent garden, the butterfly zone, and the “pollinator palace,” built to attract bees as they come out of hibernation in late spring and set springtime abuzz.

Although Freedom Park usually shuts down between sunset and sunrise, take advantage of a unique Williamsburg opportunity to explore the trails after dark during the Full Moon Hike through the park on the evening of March 25th. This particular full moon is known as the “worm moon,” marking the last chapter of spring and ushering in the arrival of spring, with earthworms making their first appearance after the long spring months. Join the free hiking group at 7:30 pm for the 1-mile trek under the moon's bright light, a romantic way to spend the evening together. After your moonlit outing, finish the evening in the cozy comfort of your Fife and Drum Inn room with a wine of your choice – champagne, red, or white – an option in our build-your-own romance package.

Plan your memorable getaway and explore the natural beauty of Williamsburg in spring!

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